Reordering Of Burst Data Transfers Across A Host Bridge - Patent 6505259 by Patents-57

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United States Patent: 6505259


































 
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	United States Patent 
	6,505,259



 Garcia
,   et al.

 
January 7, 2003




 Reordering of burst data transfers across a host bridge



Abstract

A method includes reordering a non-linear burst transaction initiated by a
     processor targeting a peripheral bus to a linear order, and retrieving the
     linear burst from the peripheral bus.


 
Inventors: 
 Garcia; Serafin E. (Folsom, CA), Dyer; Russell W. (El Dorado Hills, CA), Pasha; Abdul H. (Orangevale, CA) 
 Assignee:


Intel Corporation
 (Santa Clara, 
CA)





Appl. No.:
                    
 09/384,128
  
Filed:
                      
  August 27, 1999





  
Current U.S. Class:
  710/35  ; 710/20; 710/52; 711/169
  
Current International Class: 
  G06F 13/00&nbsp(20060101); G06F 13/28&nbsp(20060101); G06F 13/20&nbsp(20060101); G06F 013/00&nbsp()
  
Field of Search: 
  
  






















 710/35,33,34,107,126,128,31,38,42,4,8,15,127,1,20,52,65,74 711/1,103,169,170,3
  

References Cited  [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents
 
 
 
5640517
June 1997
Parks et al.

5696917
December 1997
Mills et al.

5715476
February 1998
Kundu et al.

5784705
July 1998
Leung

5835970
November 1998
Landry et al.

5898857
April 1999
Beaman et al.

5918072
June 1999
Bhattacharya

6026465
February 2000
Mills et al.

6178467
January 2001
Faucher et al.

6223266
April 2001
Sartore



   Primary Examiner:  Gaffin; Jeffrey


  Assistant Examiner:  Mai; Rijue


  Attorney, Agent or Firm: Blakley, Sokoloff, Taylor & Zafman LLP



Claims  

What is claimed is:

1.  A method comprising: reordering a non-linear burst transaction initiated by a processor targeting a peripheral bus to a linear order;  retrieving the linear burst from the
peripheral bus;  and returning the initiated non-linear burst to the processor;  wherein a memory controller hub (MCH) reorders the non-linear burst initiated by the processor and retrieves the linear burst transaction before returning the transaction to
the processor as a non-linear burst.


2.  The method of claim 1, further comprising: returning the linear burst to the processor as the initiated non-linear burst.


3.  The method of claim 1, wherein the non-liner burst transaction initiated by the processor is a read transaction.


4.  The method of claim 1, wherein the bus is selected from the group consisting of an Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) and a Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) bus.


5.  An apparatus comprising: a processor including circuitry for initiating a non-linear burst;  a bus bridge coupled to the processor including circuitry for converting the non-linear burst to a linear burst, wherein the bus bridge comprises: a
queue to receive the linear burst;  a multiplexor having select inputs coupled to the queue;  and a state machine coupled to the multiplexor to control the select inputs to the queue;  and a peripheral bus coupled to the bus bridge including circuitry
for receiving the linear burst.


6.  The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the bus bridge comprises a queue for retrieving the linear burst transaction from the secondary bus and circuitry for returning the transaction to the processor according to the non-linear burst initiated.


7.  The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the bus bridge comprises a memory controller hub (MCH).


8.  The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the bus is selected from the group consisting of an Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) and a Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) bus.


9.  The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the non-liner burst transaction initiated by the processor is a read transaction.


10.  An apparatus comprising: a processor comprising means for initiating a non-linear burst transaction targeting a receiver;  means coupled to the processor for reordering the non-linear burst transaction to a linear burst;  means for
delivering the linear burst transaction to the receiver;  and means for retrieving the linear burst transaction from the receiver before returning the transaction to the processor as a non-linear burst.


11.  The apparatus of claim 10, further comprising means for returning the linear burst to the processor as the initiated non-linear burst.


12.  The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the non-liner burst transaction initiated by the processor is a read transaction.


13.  The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the receiver is selected from the group consisting of an Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) and a Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) bus.


14.  A machine readable storage media containing executable computer program instructions which when executed cause a digital processing system to perform a method comprising: reordering a non-linear burst transaction initiated by a processor
targeting a bus to a linear burst order;  retrieving the linear burst order from the bus;  and returning the linear burst order to the processor as the initiated non-linear burst;  wherein a memory controller hub (MCH) re-orders the non-linear burst
initiated by the processor and retrieves the linear burst order transaction before returning the transaction to the processor as a non-linear burst.  Description  

FIELD OF THE INVENTION


The invention relates to microprocessor communications and, more particularly, to communications about a bridge chip set.


BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


Computer systems generally provide a bus that enables communication between computer system components such as a central processing unit (CPU) and a memory.  Such a bus may be referred to a system bus, a memory bus, or a host bus.  Computer
systems generally also include one or more secondary or peripheral buses.  Such peripheral buses typically enable communication to various devices, such as input/output devices, of the computer system.  The peripheral buses are typically standardized and
enable the connection of various types of devices or agents to the computer system.


Typical peripheral standardized buses include the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) bus or bridge that links devices or agents such as video devices, disk drives, and other adapter cards.  A second bus often used in connection with a PCI
bus in modern computer systems is the Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP).  AGP is an interface specification generally designed for the throughput demands of 3-D graphics.


Communication protocol between a processor and peripheral devices or agents about a peripheral bus generally allows the transfer of chunks of data of 8 bytes or less.  Such chunks represent a quad word.  In addition to quad words, communication
protocols also allow the transfer of data as four quad words or 32 bytes.  Such a transfer is referred to as a cache line or burst.  A cache line or burst transfer is typically faster than a transfer of four individual quad words of the same data,
because the transfer of a burst allows compacting of the data.


When a processor reads memory, the processor requests a section of address space in memory.  That address space may typically be represented by a quad word.  Typically, what the processor receives in response to its request is a cache line or
burst that includes the requested quad word.  The burst order refers to the choice of addresses for the sequence of a burst or cache line.  In modern systems, the receipt of a burst does not necessarily correspond to the sequentially ordered quad words
that make up the burst in memory space.  Instead, the line is returned with the requested quad word first, followed by the remaining quad words toggled in a non-linear fashion as known in the art.


The above description related to a processor requesting data from memory over, for example, a memory bus.  The same communication protocol is followed when a processor requests data from a peripheral device or agent.  Data returned to a processor
as part of a read transaction initiated by the processor is returned as a burst or cache line that may or may not represent a sequential transfer of data from a cache line or burst.  One problem is systems that utilize a PCI bus as a communication link
between the peripheral device or agent and the processor is that PCI generally only understands sequential or linear ordering.  Thus, a non-sequential or non-linear burst transaction initiated by a processor is returned to the processor as four distinct
requests for data (four quad words).  Thus, the efficiency of the system is limited by PCI's inability to transfer continuous bursts of data in non-linear order.


SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION


A method and apparatus is disclosed.  In one aspect, the method includes reordering a non-linear burst transaction initiated by a processor targeting a peripheral bus to a linear order, and retrieving the linear burst from the peripheral bus.


BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS


FIG. 1 illustrates a computer system including a processor and a main memory bus along with devices and agents coupled to peripheral buses and corresponding bridge circuits.


FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of an embodiment of the method of the invention.


FIG. 3 illustrates a bridge circuit coupled between a processor and a peripheral bus suitable for use in an embodiment of the invention. 

DETAILED DESCRIPTION


A method and apparatus of reordering burst data transfers are disclosed.  The reordering is used for, in one aspect, in presenting non-linear read transaction requests to a peripheral bus, such as AGP or PCI, as a linear request.


FIG. 1 illustrates a computer system incorporating the transfer method of an embodiment of the invention in general block diagram form.  Computer system 10 includes processor 100 (and optionally processor 110 and other processors) coupled to
memory controller hub (MCH) 120.  In one aspect, MCH 120 controls the accessing of memory 130 over memory bus 140.  In this example, also coupled to MCH 120 is accelerated graphics port (AGP) 160 to communicate chiefly with advanced video and other
graphic devices 150 and 155.


In FIG. 1, MCH 120 is coupled to interconnect controller hub (ICH) 170 over hub interface 175.  ICH 170 generally translates hub interface protocol into a second protocol for peripheral bus 195, such as a PCI bus.  In the example, peripheral bus
195 links various devices, including video, disk drive and other adapter cards to MCH 120 through ICH 170.


In the following example, a processor read transaction will be described.  In one example, a line transfer reads or writes a cache line or burst.  On a processor such as a Pentium.RTM.  Pro processor, commercially available from Intel Corporation
of Santa Clara, Calif., a cache line or burst is 32 bytes aligned on a 32-byte boundary.  As noted above, while a line is always aligned on a 32-byte boundary, a line transfer need not begin on that boundary.  A cache line or burst is transferred in four
8-byte chunks or quad words, each of which can be identified by a certain address bit.  Table 1 illustrates an exemplary transfer order used for a 32-byte line, based on address bits A[4:3]# specified in a transaction Request Phase.


 TABLE 1  Burst Order Used for Processor Bus Line Transfers  A[4: Re-  3] # quested 1st Address 2nd Address 3rd Address 4th Address  (bi- Address Transferred Transferred Transferred Transferred  nary) (hex) (hex) (hex) (hex) (hex)  00 0 0 8 10 18 01 8 8 0 18 10  10 10 10 18 0 8  11 18 18 10 8 0


When a processor initiates a read transaction, the address of the request is provided to, for example, MCH.  The lower bits of that address (e.g., bits 3 and 4) determine whether the transaction is linear or non-linear.  In the example
illustrated in table 1, the burst order implied when A[4:3]# is 00b shall be referred to as linear and all other burst order shall be referred to as non-linear.


Referring to FIG. 2, as a starting point, processor 100 initiates a read transaction requesting a line transfer over perpheral bus 195, such as a PCI bus (block 250).  In one embodiment, the transaction proceeds to MCH 120 where the transaction
is evaluated to determine whether the transaction is linear or non-linear (block 255).  If the transaction is linear, such as when A[4:3]# is 00b, the transaction is forwarded to ICH 170 and peripheral bus 195 (block 260).  The transaction (e.g., line
transfer) is fetched from the appropriate peripheral device (device 180, device 185, device 190) (block 255) and returned as a linear transaction to MCH 120 and processor 100 (block 270).


When processor 100 initiates a non-linear transaction request targeting a peripheral bus, corresponding, for example, to an A[4:3]# of 01b, 10b, or 11b, MCH 120 replaces A[4:3]# with 00b prior to forwarding the transaction to peripheral bus 195. 
Once the starting address is modified, the transaction is initiated on peripheral bus 195 to allow a configured, linear, 32-byte burst read to occur on peripheral bus 195 (block 285).


In one embodiment, the entire line of read data is received from peripheral device or agent 180, 185, or 190 by MCH 120 in linear order and stored at MCH 120 (block 285).  MCH 120 utilizes, for example, a line-size buffer to store the data.  MCH
120 replaces A[4:3]# with the appropriate non-linear address request (01b, 10b, or 11b) corresponding to the transaction initiated by CPU 100 (block 295).  The line of read data is then forwarded from MCH 120 to processor 100 in the order prescribed by
the initiated transaction.


In the above embodiment, MCH 120 modifies the non-linear transaction request initiated by the processor to a linear request and modifies the retrieved line of read data from a linear order to a non-linear order prior to forwarding the data to
processor 100.  FIG. 3 illustrates an example of configuring MCH 120 to handle the modification of the transaction request and the line of read data.  In this embodiment, the read transaction request initiated by processor 110 is presented to MCH 120. 
MCH 120 includes, for example, address segmentation unit 220 that captures and stores the lower bits of the address request (e.g., bits 3 and 4) that determine whether the request is linear or non-linear.  Address segmentation unit 220 includes, for
example, a register to store the lower bits of a transaction request.  With the lower bits removed, MCH 120 treats the transaction request as linear and forwards the transaction to peripheral bus 195.


FIG. 3 also shows queue 240 to receive an entire line of read data from agent or device 180, 185, or 190.  In one example, queue 240 is a line-size buffer.  As noted above, address segmentation unit 220 stores the address bits for ordering the
line of read data according to the transaction requested by processor 100.  Once the entire line of read data is present in queue 240, steering logic, for example, in state machine 230 is employed to reconfigure data based on the address transaction
requested.  If the transaction requested was a linear line read (e.g., A[4:3]# is 00b), the read data is returned as linear line data.  Conversely, if the transaction requested is a non-linear line read (e.g., A[4:3]# is 01b, 10b, or 11b), the
configuring address is associated with the read data and the data returned as non-linear line data.  One way this modification may be done is by utilizing multiplexer 250 coupled to queue 240 and controlling the output to processor 100.  For example, a
state machine may be utilized such that when a transaction is linear, multiplexor 250 does not reorder the line data.  When the transaction is non-linear, state machine 230 utilizes mutliplexer 250 to reorder the line data prior to forwarding to the
processor.


In the above example, MCH 120 is utilized to reorder transactions between a processor and a peripheral bus.  In the illustration described with respect to FIG. 1, MCH 120 is a suitable choice for handling the reordering mechanism of the
invention, because MCH 120 is linked both to peripheral bus 195 and AGP 160 allowing the invention to be implemented with respect to both buses.  It is to be appreciated that the reordering mechanism can also be implemented in ICH 170 rather than MCH 120
or in combination with MCH 120.


The above example is described with reference to a peripheral bus that is a PCI bus.  The same method can be used to control transactions between, for example, a processor and AGP or other peripheral bus, including in conjunction with
transactions between the processor and a PCI bus.


In another embodiment, the functionality of the described embodiment of the MCH to reorder transactions between a processor and a peripheral bus may be implemented by a programmed second processor.  In such case, there may be a machine-readable
storage media containing executable program instructions that, when executed, cause the second processor to perform a method of reordering a non-linear burst transaction initiated by an initiating processor targeting a peripheral bus to a linear order
and retrieving the linear burst from the peripheral bus.  The program instructions may further include instructions for the second processor to perform the returning of the linear burst to the initiating processor as the initiated non-linear burst.


By reordering a transaction, the invention offers improved performance of transactions over buses that are not suited for non-linear cache line contiguous transfers.  The invention allows requested non-linear cache lines or bursts to be
transferred across secondary buses as linear cache lines or bursts thus reducing the design complexity of prior art systems that break the burst into smaller chunks of data.


In the preceding detailed description, the invention is described with reference to specific embodiments thereof.  It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit
and scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.  The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.


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